The best tasting clam in Oregon
The razor clam that inhabits the Oregon beaches is known as Siliqua Patula, it is a very large and delicious clam that can be dug out of the sand during a low tide. This clam is found from all the way north in Alaska down to the middle of California and prefers to live in the beaches with large deposits of sand. If you wake up early in the morning in Seaside on a low tide you will be amazed at how many people are out digging up one of the most delicious dinners the coast has to offer. People can find them during the lowest tides of each cycle when the surf is relatively calm and the clam “shows” meaning that you can see either a small hole, a dimple in the sand, or a disturbance in the receding water from each wave that washes to shore. The razor clam is best when prepared simply with just a light batter and fried, but also can be used in clam chowder, clam fritters, seafood stews and other dishes.
Razor clams are known for moving quickly in the very soft sand with their large digger foot and so once you begin to disturb the area move quickly until you have reached it and pulled it out of the hole. always check your local regulations for the proper season to be able to go clamming and make sure that you know the limit that can be harvested. Steep fines are associated with clam diggers that over harvest or take during out of season. Always have a separate bag for holding the clams for every digger in your party as it is a big no no to put all your clams in one bag or to dig for someone else.
When to go clam Digging?
The most popular times to pursue these bivalves is during a low tide. Review the tide tables and look for times that the tide is going to be a low minus tide and preferably the lower minus tides of the month. Clam diggers should plan to get to the beach an hour and half before the low tide to start looking for the signs of clams. Sometimes it can take only a matter of minutes to dig a limit of these tasty morsels while other days it may take up to an hour or more if the surf is rougher and the clams are deeper and not showing as easily.
What do you need to find clams?
There are two primary tools for digging razor clams. The clam shovel and the clam gun. Of course you can always just use your hands, but you will likely quickly be reminded why these creatures have the word razor in their name. The sharp and thin shells can cut your fingers deep very easily. Due to the soft nature of the shells it is very important to be careful while digging with a shovel as it is very easy to crack or cut them in half, while the bits and pieces are still very edible, they will no longer retain the same impressive look on the plate that a full clam has, so be careful with whatever tool you choose.
The Clam Shovel, is a short handed shovel to mid torso length at the longest and has a very flat blade that is about 9 – 11 inches in depth. It is important when digging with a shovel to position the blade about 4 inches away from the clam show, between the hole and the ocean. Go straight down and barely lift back with the handle and pull the sand straight up. This will remove the dirt without breaking the shovel, for a clam that is deeper you may need to repeat the process a couple of times. These clams move quickly in the wet sand so be ready to reach down and grab them before they disappear into the liquefied sand of the surf.
The clam gun is designed to quickly reach the clam and pull it out in one full motion. the gun will be a circular tube with handles and a vent hole. Simple place the gun over the show, drive it all the way down, put your finger over the air vent and pull up. Make sure to lift with your legs and not your back otherwise you can quickly wear yourself out and even cause an injury to yourself. The wet sand grips the gun tightly and can require some serious pulling on to get moving. Repeat if necessary to reach the shellfish.
Here is how to do it
Getting it done with the shovel. Use the butt end to pound the sand and find the shows and then dig up your prize.
The clam gun makes it quick and easy for anyone to dig a clam in the sand.
Cleaning the Clams
There is lots of ways to clean a razor clam. Some people like to slightly boil them and then quickly place them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This can make the shell removal easier, but risks cooking the meat. I prefer to remove the shells with a oyster knife and then continue to process them, removing the nasty parts of the gut and intestine and cleaning the siphons so that the meat is ready to be panko crusted and fried or chopped up into the best chowder meat ever.
The standard fried razor clam recipe